2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
There is currently a lot of discussion about the sense and nonsense of biofuel. But many drivers are not interested in sustainability issues. They care about what they have to pay at the gas station. We tested the Volvo 1.8 F.
By Sebastian Viehmann
Anyone who looks at the meter at the gas pump has nothing to smile about at the moment. With the number of liters one imagines the capacity of a thimble and with the price the average gross national product of a developing country. Bioethanol (E85) does not get away completely unscathed in the wave of price increases, because 15 percent of the fuel consists of gasoline. Nevertheless, the corners of the mouth go up at the pump: If you fill up with 10 liters of E85, you only pay 10 euros - or even less. The price per liter at petrol stations is currently around 98 cents on average.
Because the calorific value of bioethanol is around 30 percent lower than that of gasoline, you also consume more with E85 in the tank. Our test car consumed an average of eight to ten liters of fuel per 100 kilometers when running pure petrol. With a tank completely filled with E85 it was between 10 and 12 liters. Based on a liter price of 98 cents for E85 and 1.50 euros for Super, the pure fuel costs per 100 kilometers are between 12 and 15 euros with petrol or between 9.8 and 11.7 euros with E85. The bioethanol surcharge (the Volvo 1.8 F costs 400 euros more than the normal 1.8) would have been recovered after one to two years with an annual mileage of 20,000 kilometers.
With the Volvo C30 1.6 D we determined an average consumption of almost six liters of diesel per 100 kilometers in another test. At the current high diesel price of around 1.49 euros per liter, the pure fuel costs would be just under 9 euros per 100 kilometers. If you take into account the higher taxes and purchase prices for diesel, bioethanol becomes an alternative worth considering, at least at the current and expected fuel prices - both to normal gasoline and diesel.
Mixture doesn't matter
A FlexiFuel vehicle, such as that offered by Volvo, Saab or Ford, swallows any mixture of premium gasoline and E85. You can fine-tune the consumption if you experiment a little with the mixing ratio. In a test drive with a tank three-quarters full of E85 and one-fourth full of normal premium gasoline, the average fuel consumption of the Volvo on the autobahn was between 120 and 160 km / h at 9.2 liters.
Saab has long been relying on the combination of E85 and turbo engines, Volvo followed suit with a 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbo engine for the V70 and S80. The 125 hp 1.8-liter four-cylinder in the C30 is a bit tough fellow, whether with gasoline or alcohol in the blood. In the city it is fast enough and is also suitable as a decent travel companion, but when overtaking on the country road or on inclines on the motorway, the four-cylinder quickly loses its guts. The five-speed gearbox shifts crisply, but the engine gets quite loud under load.
The surcharge for an ethanol vehicle is low compared to other alternative drive types, since essentially only the fuel lines and engine control have to be changed. The basic version of the Volvo 1.8 F costs 21,050 euros. The entry-level diesel 1.6 D (109 hp) is available from 21,500 euros.
Volvo and Saab in particular rely on bioethanol. Sweden even wants to become completely independent of fossil fuels by 2020. Outside the Scandinavian countries, the fuel is only slowly gaining acceptance in Europe. In Germany there seems to be tentative growth: At Saab, the bioethanol vehicle share of the German model mix was still one percent in 2006, in 2007 it was already seven percent - which means the still unimpressive number of 283 cars given the overall low market share of the Swedes. In the current year, however, Saab has already sold 219 bioethanol vehicles in the first four months, said Saab spokesman Patrick Munsch. Given the unchecked rise in fuel prices, demand is likely to continue to grow.
One of the pinnacles of the FlexiFuel concept in Germany is the growing but still thin network of filling stations. The website www.e85.biz, one of the more up-to-date sources on the subject, recorded only 166 bioethanol filling stations in June 2008. The white spots on the map are numerous. Since our test car frequently commuted between Kassel and Frankfurt, the supply situation was comparatively cheap: There were two E85 filling stations in Frankfurt, and one in Kassel. Most of the pillars are available from independent petrol stations and smaller chains such as OIL! or Avia.